Creative Writing Prompt for April 20

Saturday, Apr 1, 2017
The 3 a.m. Epiphany

Our Creative Writing Group meets the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. We are working through the exercises in Brian Kiteley's The 3 a.m. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction. The assignment for April 20th is Fantasy - 154.

Play with the notion of several characters that see something that is not -- or may not -- be there. The narrator of this scene is a reality check -- he does not see what the other characters claim to see. Include this character as a reality principle to avoid the simple problem of one person's hallucinations. What is visible to this small group of people may be a mass hallucination, but it does not have to be a sign of mental illness. Make the mystifying visible thing a fairly ordinary thing -- a lion lounging on the steps of a public library where a statue of a lion usually sits; a tree that weeps when the sky is clear blue and cloudless. Don't play with magic; play with the idea of skepticism and faith in what the eye can plainly see -- play with radically differing views of reality. the problem of this exercise won't be convincing the reader that there is a lion on the steps of the library; it will be to make us believe these other people believe it is there without making them seem crazy. 600 words

The word fantasy originally meant making something visible that should not be visible. A fantastic sight now means something unbelievable -- a vision our eyes can't believe, at least. Younger writers often want to play with fantasy. This exercise will indulge that desire to a degree, but it should also put a brake on what often goes wrong with fantastic writing -- there will be a true skeptic at the helm of the story. The observer who doesn't see the fantastic thing should have some sympathy for the other observers.

Come with six copies of your completed assignment to share. We'll discuss and provide feedback. First time? Feel free to come and observe before jumping in.